Antoinette Ash's Story
“I’m the mother hen. I take care of everybody else,” explained 42-year old Antoinette Ash.
The mother of two and new grandmother was therefore hesitant to seek medical attention when she was having chest pains and feeling unusually exhausted. She was shocked to hear her doctor’s diagnosis of non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, a condition that weakens the heart’s ability to deliver blood to the body. It is more commonly referred to as “heart failure.” Suddenly, the woman who cared for everyone else was finding that she herself needed care – she was now a patient.
Antoinette’s weakened heart put her at risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs when the heart unexpectedly develops a dangerous and rapid heartbeat. Without treatment, sudden cardiac death occurs in minutes. The most effective treatment is a timely shock from a defibrillator.
Antoinette’s doctor knew that she needed constant protection, so he prescribed the LifeVest wearable defibrillator to monitor and protect her heart around the clock. He explained that if the LifeVest detected a life-threatening heart rhythm, it would deliver a treatment shock that could save Antoinette’s life.
A vibrant and independent woman, Antoinette was grateful that she was being discharged and would not need to be restricted to her hospital bed. She returned to her home and took her doctor’s instructions seriously. “I never took it off. I wore it religiously.” She only removed the LifeVest for a quick shower as directed.
Less than two months later, Antoinette was at home relaxing in bed, playing a game on her phone and watching television. That’s the last thing she remembers before she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Her heart developed a life-threatening rapid rhythm, so fast that her heart was just quivering. It was not pumping strong enough to deliver enough blood to her brain and body. Antoinette passed out before she or anyone in her family knew what was happening.
“Sudden cardiac arrest is exactly what it is – sudden.” Antoinette declared. “There’s no warning. You have no idea it’s coming. It can happen anytime. You never know.”
Antoinette’s LifeVest went into action immediately. The LifeVest detected the life-threatening heart rhythm and delivered a treatment shock that reset her normal heart rhythm and saved her life. When Antoinette regained consciousness shortly after the treatment, she realized what had happened: “The LifeVest saved me!”
Looking back, Antoinette admits that she didn’t want to go to the doctor for her chest pain and exhaustion, but she knows that her doctor’s recommendation to wear the LifeVest saved her life. She now looks forward to making the most of her second chance. She is enjoying every day with her family and returning to school to further her education. “I want to show my girls and my grandbaby that you can’t let anything stop you.”